In praise of read­ing and writ­ing


Arthur Mu­tam­bara, the For­mer Deputy Prime Min­is­ter of Zim­babwe who is cur­rently Pres­i­dent of the African News Agency, gave a rous­ing mo­ti­va­tional speech to a packed hall of stu­dents telling them that the key to Africa's fu­ture de­pends on them.

His mes­sage was that com­bin­ing power with ideas, aca­demic skills and a well­rounded so­cial life and then the im­ple­men­ta­tion of those ideas is the only way for­ward for African coun­tries. He was speak­ing on 28 Septem­ber about the book, “In Search of the Elu­sive Zim­bab­wean Dream: An Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy of Thought Lead­er­ship”. The book is the first in a tril­ogy that doc­u­ments his thoughts and ideas from 1983 un­til the present as his gen­er­a­tion tried to be the change they wished to see in Zim­babwe.

He said that the key to change in Africa was the de­vel­op­ment of a writ­ing cul­ture.

“Ev­ery suc­cess­ful civil­i­sa­tion has writ­ers and read­ers,” he said. “Africans must write. Doc­u­men­ta­tion is di­vine.”

“With hard work and the sup­port from the com­mu­nity you can suc­ceed against all odds,” he said. “I hope the lead­ers of the com­mu­nity are

“I hope the lead­ers of the com­mu­nity are here,” he said. He warned them to not get so in­volved with rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion that they fall down in their aca­demic work, such as when an SRC pres­i­dent or mem­ber gets su­ple­men­tary re­sults. “Oh, shame on you! You don’t im­press us,” he said to laugh­ter and ap­plause.

We need both aca­demic ex­cel­lence and so­cial abil­ity, he said, mean­ing that you must not con­cen­trate only on books, but be an ac­tive mem­ber of your com­mu­nity, play sports and go to church. He en­cour­aged them to be at the top of the class and to com­bine aca­demic ex­cel­lence and so­cial abil­ity. He en­cour­aged stu­dents to de­velop a longterm plan and then pri­or­i­tize so as to im­ple­ment the plant. Strat­egy is im­por­tant, he said, but ex­e­cu­tion is more im­por­tant. “Pri­or­i­tize and have vi­sion.”

He spoke about what he calls thought lead­er­ship, in which ideas in­flu­ence the way for­ward. Lead­er­ship is the im­pact of power, but com­bin­ing power and ideas “will make the world a bet­ter place”. Trou­ble hap­pens when those with power have no ideas and those with ideas have no power.

“What we are say­ing why don’t we put up some ideas with power,” he said.

Speak­ing about Zim­babwe, he said equal­ity had been elu­sive.

“We need peace, equal­ity, free­dom and in­clu­sive democ­racy – these are the miss­ing el­e­ments in Zim­babwe,” he said.

With hard work and the sup­port from the com­mu­nity you can suc­ceed against all odds.

Photo: Lin­dani Donyeli

Arthur Mu­tam­bara, the For­mer Deputy Prime Min­is­ter of Zim­babwe.

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